The name Bakary Sako is not exactly a huge name in the football world and certainly, in terms of name, is well short of Crystal Palace’s big signing of the summer Yohan Cabaye.
However it doesn’t need to be a big name signing to make it a shrewd signing, and that is what this deal for Sako is.
The former Wolves man signed for the Eagles last week on a three-year-deal and joins the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon in the attacking roles Pardew deploys well at Palace.
The Mali international is a good signing for the Eagles as he will offer something different to the Palace attacking midfield positions. The difference is his goals, neither Zaha or Bolasie, are exactly prolific in front of goal. They notch a few but are far more effective in creating chances for their team mates, whereas Sako is a greater threat when it comes to getting on the score sheet. He excels in scoring in all sorts of situations and his arrival with give Palace plenty more options going forward.
His goal scoring record is very impressive for a man often played out wide or just in behind a central striker. He was Wolves’ joint top goalscorer last season, and has scored 36 goals in 111 games league games for Wolves, which is a very healthy return for an attacking midfielder.
Of course those statistics were achieved in the Championship, so there will be questions marks over whether the former Saint Etienne man can replicate that sort of form in the Premier League.
It won’t be easy for the Malian at first, as he is arriving at a club who now have many attacking options at their disposal now. And Eagles boss Pardew even admitted himself that due to his sides strength in depth that he thought he had picked the wrong side on Saturday before they got the first goal.
You could see why Pardew said that with the likes of Patrick Bamford, Connor Wickham and Yannick Bolasie warming the bench – so there will no doubt be big competition for places in SE25 – but Sako will thrive off of that.
Sako comes across as a player that will take the step up in his stride and enjoy the competition for places, and he himself admits that by saying: “I’m confident about stepping up to the Premier League, so we’ll see how it goes.”
And he is indeed a confidence player, capable of creating and scoring goals, and using his power, pace and outrageous skill to terrorise defences. So it will be down to Palace boss Alan Pardew to get the best out of the attacking midfielder.
Speaking to the club’s official website, the 27-year-old said: “I talked to some clubs but when I met Alan (Pardew) I felt a good feeling between him and me and that’s why I chose Palace.”
Clearly Pardew and his attacking style of football convinced Sako to move to Selhurst Park, and given that many clubs were interested in signing Sako only highlights how much of a shrewd signing it could prove to be.